• Aidan Craig

Non Gluten sensitivity and F.O.D.M.A.P'S - Is there a link ?

Dietary intolerances are common yet may be poorly managed and recognised. Over the last decade there has been research conducted into the link between FODMAPS, fructans and non gluten sensitivity.

What is Non Gluten sensitivity ?

Gluten sensitivity or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition that affects some people whom has gut symptoms when eating foods with ingredients containing gluten, ie wheat, barley and rye, even if they don’t have coeliac disease. The symptoms experienced may be similar to those experienced by many people with coeliac disease, but it is not clear how the immune system might be involved and there does not appear to be damage to the lining of the gut.

What are FODMAPs?

The term FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharide Disaccharide Monosaccharide And Polyols.  FODMAPS are types of sugar and carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and grain-based products, dairy and dairy alternatives, sugars and sweeteners.

Should FODMAPs be considered one of the possible causes of celiac-like symptoms?

A previous study looked at 59 people whom consumed a gluten-free, low-FODMAP muesli bar containing either added gluten (5.7 g) or fructan (2.1 g), or with nothing added (placebo), once daily for 7 days. IBS symptoms along with vitality and weakness shown higher with the fructan intake group compared to the gluten group and not the placebo group.

This shows with the improvement of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)-like symptoms when on a gluten-free diet, it may be due to a reduced consumption of FODMAPs rather than elimination of gluten. This among other studies shown a link to fructans involvement in gut symptoms.

What are fructans ?

Fructans are a chain of fructose molecules found in many types of fruits and vegetables. Fructans are not digested in the small intestines of humans, although shown to provide health benefits they have been linked to causing gut symptoms in some individuals.

The potential reason why a gluten free diet may be so successful in reducing symptoms ?

Gluten grains such as wheat, rye and barley happen to also be high-FODMAP foods. By eliminating gluten from your diet you then are actually reducing your intake of FODMAPs.

The low FODMAP diet

Developed in 1999 by Dr. Sue Shepherd at Monash University in Australia to control gastrointestinal symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is some evidence that following this diet has provided relief to approximately 75% of individuals experiencing IBS-like symptoms.

On a very general protocol the low FODMAP diet is followed strictly from two to six weeks, with a follow up of reintroduction of specific FODMAP foods which may be the problem to the person. As many of the types of foods that may be eliminated it is crucial that you seek professional advice to ensure required nutrients is being consumed.


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